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The Spanish Audiencia Nacional court’s decision on November 19 to issue arrest warrants for former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, 87, and four other Chinese top officials, “over their alleged responsibility in the crime of genocide against the Tibetan people” has triggered “a sudden and unwelcome diplomatic row with precisely the country Madrid had set its sights on becoming a new Asiatic Eldorado for Spanish companies”, writes El País.

The high court based its decision on the principle of Spanish courts’ universal jurisdiction over crimes affecting all Spanish nationals, even those outside Spain.

China said it is “strongly displeased” at the news and has summoned the Spanish Ambassador to Beijing to meet with Chinese government officials.

The decision follows a lawsuit launched in 2006 by Tibetan human rights organisations and Sherpa Thubten Wangchen, a Spanish national, over Chinese government action in Tibet after the 1950 invasion.